Making NYSC Fulcrum of Agricultural Development

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Making NYSC Fulcrum of Agricultural Development

The need to ensure a united, strong and peaceful nation, especially after the Civil War, gave rise to the establishment of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

Former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon established the scheme in 1973

It was also part of Federal Government’s bid to reconstruct, reconcile and rebuild the country.

The scheme has in many ways, contributed to national integration; inter marriages, cultural awareness as well as community development.

In a way, the scheme has been a sort of relief to graduates in the struggle to cope with unemployment.

Moreover, the government, in realization of the significance of the scheme, has integrated entrepreneurship training into it.

The government has also made access to loan, a key component of NYSC entrepreneurial and vocational training scheme.

In the light of the current economic challenge, with the government striving to shift focus from oil dominated economy to other resources, especially agriculture, NYSC is being considered to contribute to the leverage.

It is a well known fact that agriculture was the main stay of the various regional governments before independence, with significant development achieved.

In realization of the potential which agriculture holds out to the nation, government should make the NYSC one of the fulcrums of agricultural development in the country.

This they can do by enlarging the scope of corps members farming scheme established in 2012 with the aim of ensuring sustainable food production for them while in camp.

This is capable of helping the nation to tackle unemployment among graduates, as some of the youth corps members might be encouraged to take to farming, should they realise their potential during the service year.

A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics places unemployment rate at 23 percent, the country is also said to have an active population of 60 percent, who fall into the age bracket of 15 to 64 years, which is the age range of corps members.

Many states such as Niger, Plateau and Ogun, have utilized the energy and knowledge of youth corps members in agriculture.

This is no doubt an indication of the realization of the potential in engaging youth corps members in economic development initiative through farming.

However, the NYSC programme has continued to be subject of national debate, with a call from some sectors of the public that the scheme be scrapped, while many vehemently oppose that stand.

A number of factors which account for the suggestion to scrap it include the killing of youth corps members during religious, ethnic or political violence

Also, NYSC members have on many occasions, complained of being under paid, paid late or not paid at all in some cases.

Government should therefore address the issues as they would help motivate the youth corps members to show commitment to the NYSC agricultural programme for the benefit of the nation.

 Fawzeeyah Kasheem


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